Tag Archives: Social network

5 Social Media What Not To Dos

These days, it can be hard not to feel bombarded by Social Media, what with 900 million active users on Facebook and 200 million plus on Twitter. The majority of the small business owners I train or work with certainly feels a heightened sense of obligation and urgency to navigate the Social Media landscape. But, in the rush to, they invariably end up making critical and costly mistakes for their businesses. Check out these five common mistakes and Soci@lite’s suggestions for how to avoid them:

1.  The Best Things Online Aren’t Free 

Social Media does not cost anything other than in time and effort. It’s free to join Facebook, create a Twitter profile or set up a blog – fantastic news for small businesses, right? Not once you factor in the constant commitment that Social Media demands, from updating your channels with fresh content to engaging with your followers and industry peers, not to mention keeping tab on your competitors.

Potentially, it could be taking you or a member of your staff (if you’re doing well enough to have one) as much as ten hours a week to manage all of your Social Media accounts – you do the maths! Consider outsourcing your monthly Social Media activity to somebody with the time, the tools and the inclination.

2.  Don’t Compare or Compete with the Giants

If you’re running a small business, the hard earned money you’ve allocated for your own marketing budget is merely a drop in the Atlantic for the likes of Coca Cola and Starbucks and there is little if anything you can do to change this. The good news however, is that your business doesn’t need to even attempt to keep up with the big brands, particularly when it comes to contests and campaigns.

Whilst incentivisation via giveaways and competitions is one of the most effective ways to generate new likes and improve overall engagement, small businesses should not feel pressurised to offer flashy prizes that are well beyond their budget. Instead, consider giving away one of your services or a free e-Book instead of a free iPad. This may not the sexiest prize and is unlikely to generate universal interest amongst your potential followers, but whoever does participate is already a captive audience, enthusiastic ambassador for your business and a potential client.

3.  Value of Exchange versus Hard Sell 

images (7)  This is perhaps the most difficult lesson for the small business owner to learn and take on board without a large marketing budget to spend. Whilst it is a marketing channel, Social Media requires an altogether subtler approach, in other words no Buy Me Now buttons or blatant promotional copy.

If your Social Media strategy is purely about marketing or sales then you need to rethink it NOW. Whilst it holds true that you can increase your sales figures from Social Media, this should not be your focus 100% of the time. As a general rule of thumb, only 5% to 10% of your status updates, Tweets, etc. should be selling.

Social Media is all about building relationships and growing trust, from answering questions to providing helpful information, to acting as a trusted resource and an industry authority. These are the activities which will grow your bottom line in the long run, albeit it in a slower fashion.

4.  It’s Not About You! 

Other business owners often comment to me that they don’t want to put what they had for dinner on Twitter. And my response to this is always the same – you wouldn’t walk up to somebody at a networking event and tell them what you had for dinner last night or what you watched on TV, so why do it online?!  And there’s nothing more irksome than being on the receiving end either. We’ve all been stuck at an event or dinner party with the self-absorbed person who talks at not to you and only about themselves to boot.

To be liked online, you’ve got to be a good listener, genuinely interested in what others have to say, gracious about constructive criticism and not dominate the conversation. Ask questions and encourage participation and comments, engage (within reason) with everybody who posts on your wall and share great content of others in your industry, in fact anything that you think will resonate with others or be interest or use to them.

Put simply, the same etiquette you employ offline applies online – don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t in person and you will be fine.

5.  Quality not Quantity 

Linkbaiting imageThere will always be some new up and coming network threatening claiming to be the next Facebook or Twitter and unless Social Media IS your business, you will never be able to keep up with it, but guess what? Nor should you.

Doing Social Media well does not mean being anywhere and everywhere. Instead, it’s about choosing one or two of the most relevant and effective channels for reaching your customers and focusing on them.

It is better to have no Social Media presence at all (although highly unadvisable!) than a neglected account as this will reflect badly on your business and, rightly or wrongly, result in a perception.  And let’s face it; online more than anywhere else, perception is everything.

Again, if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage and participate on your Social Media channels, consider outsourcing your monthly activity to somebody with the time, the tools and the inclination.

I hope that you have found this article useful – please feel free to leave me comments or questions. In closing, it’s important to remember that the business principle of 50 years ago still ring as true today – doing business with those that know like and trust you will make you money, Social Media is merely the platform. Keep these principles in mind when planning your Social Media activity and you will be a guru before you know it!

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Three-Faced Book: the three key changes in store for the nation’s Social Media Sweetheart

So what has prompted Facebook to give the news feed its first facelift since 2009? The idea is to make the website more closely resemble its Android and iOS mobile apps.

Facebook new look news feed1. Tabloid Newspaper style – the website version of Facebook will change from three columns to two so that the main news feed is bigger which will enable all posts, regardless of whether they are updates your friends have posted or adverts to have more space on the page. This ultimately means that images and videos will be afforded greater prominence than post containing only text. This makes a lot better sense when you consider that we are visual creatures and it has already been demonstrated time and again that photos and pictures resonate far greater with people than words.

Facebook news feed pop-out bar2. Pop-out Bar – this will be added to the left-hand side of the page and contain the live updates ticker, links to specific friends, the chat and calendar tools and app bookmarks.

 Facebook Friends news feed3. Feed Octet – in addition to the standard Facebook news feed you can select up to seven others, including a music-themed feed comprised of updates from artists you have liked, gig announcements and songs your friends are listening to through services such as Spotify. There will also be a feed displaying all your friends’ updates instead of just those selected by Facebook’s algorithms as we presently have.

So what do these changes mean for you?  For some worrywarts, adverts will now take up more screen space and be harder to ignore as a consequence and the focus of the redesign is to place more emphasis on adverts and make people ultimately spend more time on the social networking site.

Whatever the real reason, Facebook’s PR machine is determined that the message we get is one of scaled back  newsfeed content and more engaging posts. And, ultimately, this is the purpose of Social Media, right?  What do you think? I’d love to hear your views, so comment away!  You can preview the new look Facebook newsfeed here.

Soci@lite’s Miniclass: What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging involves either writing blog posts to be published on other bloggers’ blogs, or another person writing a blog post to appear on your blog. Guest blogging is used by many bloggers because it is a really effective method to drive traffic to your website and as well as enabling you to network with other bloggers from your industry. Guest blogging also helps with branding and getting your name or company in the spotlight, building your social media presence and gaining more industry experience.

How 

  • Research your topic and write the post before you pitch it to a submission site
  • Find a blog that is accepting guest posts or contact a website that might be willing to accept a guest post
  • Introduce yourself and tell them what you would like to write about
  • Apply any suggestions or feedback from the host site concerning your content
  • Include an optimised backlink to your website in the byline
  • Vary where you post
  • Respond to comments left on your post
  • Include an author bio and introduce yourself to your readers
  • Read other articles on the host website
  • Promote your guest post to social media websites

Where

  • The first and best place to start your research is the search enginesGoogle, Bing, Yahoo and the like. Compile a list of sites that you would like to contact for guest blogging
  • Consider maintaining a spreadsheet detailing the name of each site, title of the article you submitted, contact name, email address, page rank, anchor text and the date that you submitted your article
  • Try to seek out well-established blogs which feel offer you the best opportunity to attract like-minded readers as your own site
  • Contributing your knowledge or experiences on other websites will also create a line of communication and encourage new readers to visit your website
  • Find well-known websites or blog authors in your industry and contact them with a polite email enquiring as to whether or not they are willing to showcase one of your articles
  • There are also a number of blog submission websites which rely solely on the submissions of guest bloggers which can be extremely helpful as long as they target your audience

What

  • Submit to a website or blog where the content will be valuable or useful to its audience and ensure your content is unique and easy to read
  • Be honest, straightforward and demonstrate your knowledge

When

  • Wait until you have established a well-written blog and are confident in your blog and article writing abilities
  • It is most beneficial to guest post whenever you have important or link worthy content to share
  • Unique content is always the best way to target potential customers because it guides readers to your material

Guest blogging can be extremely mutually beneficial. The host site/author is provided with link worthy unique content and a link on your site and you as the guest blogger have the opportunity to not only direct traffic back to your website but content is king. Posting unique content will help your search engine ranking and hopefully search engine traffic no end. Guest blogging can also help you to gain backlinks, increase traffic, develop your company brand and acquire new customers.

Whys & Wherefores of a LinkedIn profile

Many professionals see LinkedIn as ‘a place they keep their CV online and maybe have some connections with people they know professionally…not as a place to get business intelligence, to research problems, to establish an online presence where other people in the network can find them’, commented LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman recently. Nevertheless, LinkedIn has now established itself as one of the leading Social Media channels and is an interface for professionals who want to find out more about you – use it to benefit from the buzz about your business.

A LinkedIn profile helps you to:

  • Showcase your skills and experience
  • Be found for new opportunities
  • Stay in touch with colleagues and friends

LinkedIn is very different from more casual social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and the language used to communicate with fellow LinkedIn members more formal. As LinkedIn is a professional network, offer business discussions, events and opportunities instead of personal Updates. Be mindful of the purpose of LinkedIn – although it is great to share what is important to you on LinkedIn, achieving a balance is equally crucial.

LinkedIn is all about connections and nurturing your network so you should really be asking yourself what you can do for your contacts, instead of requesting that they do things to benefit you. Much the same as Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, you can ‘follow’ your favourite or similar companies to your own and receive automatic Updates in your LinkedIn feed. Read their pages and the profiles of their members – what keywords do they use? What LinkedIn groups do they belong to? What connections do you have to these people?

You are your Brand

Users with 100% complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn, which will not only open avenues to more connections, but demonstrate that you actively wish to participate and are ready to engage with fellow users.  A 100% complete profile (a prerequisite of which is a minimum of 50 connections), also automatically ranks you higher in search results because the more information you input with relevant keywords, the easier it is for people to find you which in turn influences how high up you appear in a search result.

Katherine Hanson - Soci@lite

Use a professional, clear and current photograph of your face which is appropriate for business. We are visual creatures and your photograph will be the first thing people notice before even looking at your work experience or qualifications, so first impressions really do count particularly if you have never met in person.

Choose a custom URL for your public profile, e.g. www.linkedin.com/in/katherinehanson. Google is more likely to display your name in a search and you will appear more reputable (assuming your profile is also complete of course). You can also better control what people see when they search for your name on search engines which will also return the most recent information about you.

Click here for a copy of my LinkedIn ebook:

LinkedIn Profiles & Company Pages ebook

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Soci@ite's Social Media Training image

Soci@lite Miniclass: What is Link Baiting?

Linkbaiting imageWhat is Link Baiting?

The quantity and quality of inbound links are two key metrics that a search engine will use to rank a website. Link Baiting aims to increase high-quality, relevant links and can be defined as the use of any content or feature within a website to specifically draw attention to or encourage others to link to that website. As the success of Link Baiting is dependent on quality content therefore making it viral by nature, it is an extremely powerful form of marketing. 

Why are people hooked by Link Baiting?

  • An existing relationship between the linker and the content creator
  • Incentives such as badges, web-based embeddable tools, affiliate income, etc. which benefit the linker
  • The linker was cited as a resource in the linkable content
  • They found the page/post content extremely compelling and voluntarily linked to it

Elements of a Link Bait 

  • A strong headline that is capable of capturing the readers’ attention is the first vital aspect of a highly linkable content.
  • A list of contacts who will be interested in sharing the Link Bait before actually launching it enhances the viral effect of the Link Bait once it goes live
  • Information – the research and conceptualization phase of the content, the quality of the information as well as the method of approach are all utilized to result to an exceptional finish product.
  • Unexpected hook – This is the section of the Link Bait that usually triggers readers to share or link to the content because of its unexpected approach, may be through its comprehensiveness, uniqueness or informative nature.
  • Webpage Design which mainly entices readers to delve in more into the content, whether through the images, layout of the content or infographic used within the page.

Traditional Link Building Hooks 

  • Other Websites (curated) – cites them as resources naturally attracts linkers and increases its virality as the linker will share it through their own site and social networks
  • Evil Hooks – Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
  • Humour
  • Infographics
  • Information
  • News
  • Tools
  • Unique content
  • Widgets

Social Media traffic can also generate a substantial amount of links to a single web page making it another powerful medium through which to put Link Baiting into practice.

Google+ Communities: for all the people you ought to know

Google-Plus-ShipGoogle Plus is the New Social Media Kid on the Block – it has only been in operation since June 2011 and is already the fastest-growing Social Network ever launched. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million are active in just the stream.

Google Plus is now hot on the heels of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and even added its own Company Page feature in addition to a Google Plus profile to rival these. Although Facebook is still the clear leader of the Social Media platforms for businesses, Google+’ USP is the ability of Google to synchronise search and Social Media into one package and give the other big Social Media players a run for their money.

Launched just last week (6 December 2012), Google+ Communities is the search engine giant’s newest tool:

From photography to astronomy (and everything in between), Google+ has always been a place to crowd around common interests and meet new people. What’s been missing, however, are more permanent homes for all the stuff you love: the wonderful, the weird, and yes, even the things that are waaay out there. With Google+ Communities there’s now a gathering place for your passions:

  • Discussion categories to find the conversations you care about most
  • Public or private membership for groups – from local neighbourhoods to regular poker nights
  • The ability to share with your community from any +1 button across the web
  • The option to start hangouts and plan events with community members

Google+ was launched with the aim of making online sharing as meaningful as the real thing, because the boffins at Google felt that online tools often miss the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions – this ethos has now followed through into live hangouts, the sharing of awe-inspiring photos and inner circles of friends, among others, which ‘help bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software’.

To try out the new Google+ Communities simply click on the left-hand side of your Google+ profile page

Google+ Communities

Short and Suite – minimise time to maximise online

Is maintaining a strong Social Media presence a mission impossible? Staying active can be time-consuming, however one tool has all but eliminated the problem for many businesses.

HootSuite is a Social Media Dashboard which enables you to view all of your activity simultaneously, eliminating the need to toggle between multiple tabs and windows.  But the benefits don’t stop there:

  • Group and organise streams of information with different tabs
  • Follow blogs, industry intelligence, etc. and track keywords and searches to find new business contacts
  • Draft and schedule posts to send when most of your followers will be online to maximise impact on your captive audience
  • Schedule messages in advance so that you can share more often
  • View all scheduled posts in a convenient calendar format
  • Track real time conversations – if people are asking questions about your expertise you can respond there and then – – they could be your next customer or client!
  • Track all of your clicks via extensive monitoring and reporting features – HootSuite will also sync with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights
  • When you come across something you’d like to share across your Social Media platforms simultaneously, hit the Hootlet button

Users of HootSuite include Virgin, Unicef, WWF and even The White House. So if you want to be up there with the best, it’s worth investing some time and effort in this revolutionary Social Media Dashboard.

Seeking an experienced Social Media consultant to help your business or organisation? Soci@lite is one of handful of UK HootSuite Certified Professionals trained to help you utilise Social Media software tools to enhance your online communications and marketing strategy.